January 17, 2018
Contact: Jodie Underwood
Phone Number: (206) 553-5443
Leaders Of Multi-state Drug Distribution Ring Sentenced To Long Prison Terms
SEATTLE - Three key players in a drug distribution ring that spanned seven counties in Washington State were sentenced late Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle to long prison terms. The leader of the drug distribution ring Baltazar Reyes-Garcia 45, of Camano Island, WA, was sentenced to 18 years in prison; Hector Contreras-Ibarra, 33, of Pasco, WA, was sentenced to 15years in prison; and Angel Serrano-Carreno, 30, of Mt. Vernon, WA, was sentenced to 13 years in prison. The drug ring distributed heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine in King, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom Counties. At the sentencing hearing for Baltazar Reyes-Garcia, U.S. District Judge James L. Robart said the quantities of drugs involved was “immensely alarming” and noted that Reyes-Garcia was a “major drug supplier.”
All three defendants were convicted in October 2017, following a 10-day jury trial. The conspirators operated stash houses on Camano Island and in Mount Vernon, as well as in Yakima and Franklin Counties. The organization had broad connections spanning from Mexico to Nevada, Arizona and California, and north to British Columbia. Fourteen other co-conspirators charged in the case pleaded guilty in the months following their arrests in November 2016. These other defendants in the case have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from two to twelve years in prison.
As court records and evidence admitted at trial demonstrate, law enforcement investigated the drug ring in late 2015, and early 2016, utilizing a variety of investigative tools to include wiretaps and undercover officers to document the drug distribution activity, and identify the leaders of the ring. In November 2016, law enforcement served search warrants on more than two dozen locations seizing two kilos of cocaine, more than $180,000 cash, and more than 20 firearms - including a loaded AK47. Those totals were in addition to the seizures made during the investigation: eight kilos of methamphetamine, two kilos of cocaine, nearly a kilo of heroin, and more than $117,000 in cash.
The investigation was named “Operation Car Wash” as some of the conspirators would meet up to conduct their deals at a Mount Vernon car wash.
This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement (DEA) in conjunction with the FBI, Whatcom Gang & Drug Task Force and Skagit County Inter-Agency Drug Task Force. The investigation was supported by the Auburn Police Department, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, Snohomish County Regional Drug & Gang Task Force, Mt. Vernon Police Department, Washington State Patrol, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, Skagit County Sheriff’s Office, Everett Police Department and Seattle Police Department. Additional assistance was provided by HSI; CBP, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kate Vaughan and Steven Masada.
If you, or someone you know, would like information about resources for those suffering from a heroin or other substance abuse addiction, you can call the 24 hour Washington Recovery Helpline at 866-789-1511, or go to the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Institute (link is external). If you are between 13 and 20 years old you can also call Teen Link at (866-833-6546) to talk to a teen volunteer.